arcgency uses stacked shipping containers to offer sustainable + affordable office space

arcgency uses stacked shipping containers to offer sustainable + affordable office space


described by danish architecture firm arcgency as ‘offices to feed contemporary needs’, ‘STACK II’ is a new and improved update to sister project ‘STACK I’. specifically designed for sites in transition, the project aims to offer high quality office space within a limited time frame by utilizing a modular design created from repurposed shipping containers. ‘STACK II’ expected to be in use in on location in nordhavnen for only 10-12 years, before being disassembled to make way for more permanent construction, or for use in temporary construction elsewhere.

the façade underlines the checkerboard formation of the container structure



with the continuous decline of industry in the cities and a growing sector of smaller companies, start-ups and creatives, arcgency has identified a growing demand for buildings that can facilitate the use of otherwise derelict land to generate affordable work space. ‘STACK II’ is a model to fulfill these needs in a way that is both sustainable and financially feasible. the design builds on the same principles as ‘STACK I’, but has been further developed in collaboration with the client based on information gathered from the initial project. the temporary offices are placed directly beside their sister development, and together they overlook the harbor, creating a vibrant framework for creative businesses and start-ups.

the container office is temporarily placed on a site in the old industrial harbor of copenhagen



made from 90% recycled materials, the entire load bearing structure of ‘STACK II’ consists of 20 feet tall shipping containers, aligned in two rows and stacked three storeys high in a checkered formation. the surface of the building is encapsulated in high performance insulated sandwich panels, creating an airtight shell crucial to minimize heat loss. structurally, pillars are used to lift the containers off the floor of the site, reducing any lasting impact on the location and allowing for ease of transportation. ‘STACK II’ demonstrates a pragmatic attitude toward container aesthetics. due to insulation needs, the containers are covered on the outside, but remain exposed in the interior and through the opening on the façade, creating a distinct separation between the two spaces.

creative companies and start-ups inhabit the spaces creating a lively and social atmosphere



large, floor to ceiling windows provide generous views of the waterfront and harbor and ensure a sun-soaked place of work. the size and position of the shipping containers emphasizes their stacked orientation, with interior windows allowing for visual exchange between the different workspaces. a collaborative, vibrant workplace atmosphere is encouraged by the design, while also allowing for individual spaces to retain their privacy.

the principle architecture is based on raw aesthetics, visual connection + premium daylight conditions.

industrial interior staircases connect the various stacked containers

an urban garden forms a green contrast to the industrial surroundings

all offices are characterized by excellent daylight conditions and a spectacular view

flexible workspace exists between the containers. inside are smaller meeting rooms with secondary functions

steel walls can be easily used to delineate the space

the projects melds the post-industrial harbor with new creative businesses and existing leisure activites

the raw container structure takes only one week to set up



project info:


structure: container office building.
location: nordhavnen, copenhagen, denmark.
timeframe: 2016.
client: unionkul a/s
size: 1.000m2
architect: arcgency
engineer: structural, slothmøller. energy, steensen&varming.
images by: arcgency and coast


key sustainable features:


designed for scandinavian climate: – 10 to + 25
low energy usage: below 41 kwh/m2 pr. year.
highly insulated facade panels: 300mm. u- value: 0,13 w/m2k.
designed for disassembly
90% recyclable materials
naturally ventilated
3-layered windows with build in shading film
minimal site impact pillars



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: peter corboy | designboom

  • I couldn’t tell, are there minimalistic window shades tucked atop each window? The drama of such oversized windows is definitely a “wow,” but what about functionality? Everyone works in front of a computer screen these days — to have that much glare and sunlight would make seeing your screen very difficult.

    alaimo says:

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